Friday
Mar062015

Probiotics and the Immune System 

The gastrointestinal (GI) microbiota, or the gut probiotics as they are more commonly known, are the collection of microbes which live in our gut, essential for digestion, healthy metabolism as well as playing a crucial role in the development of our immune system. Our probiotics function as a major immunological organ and along with the gastrointestinal tract constitute about seventy percent of the immune system. If probiotic balance is disrupted, termed dysbiosis; harmful inflammation, autoimmunity and altered immune function occurs along with an increased risk of disease. In this state, the intestinal tract is particularly vulnerable to chronic conditions such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Studies have also found links to systemic conditions such as obesity, type 1 and type 2 diabetes and many more highlighting the growing importance of GI microbiota to human health. Below the importance of probiotic supplementation in defending the GI microbiota from dysbiois will be shown.

The traditional belief was that the composition of GI microbiota was relatively stable from early childhood. However, overwhelming new evidence shows that diet, environmental and lifestyle factors such as stress can induce dysbiosis in GI microbiota. This was shown in studies on mice where diet was found to account for 57% of structural deviation in GI microbiota, with genetic difference only accounting for 12%. These findings further highlight the dominating role of diet in shaping GI microbiota. For example, the “Western” diet has been shown to induce dysbiois. Diets rich in complex carbohydrates show less pathogenic species than diets higher in fat or protein. Refined sugars, on the other hand, mediate the overgrowth of opportunistic bacteria and mould species.

A number of new studies have shown a positive effect of probiotic supplementation on immune health including allergies, prevention of respiratory disease and diarrhoea, particularly in children. In a study of 251 children supplementing with probiotics for 20 weeks resulted in fewer days with respiratory disorders as well as gastrointestinal (diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach pain and constipation) disorders, lower respiratory tract infections (32% vs. 49%) and fatigue (3% vs. 13%) in the probiotic group compared to placebo. In a review of 14 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) supplementing with probiotics had a positive effect both in diminishing the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections and the severity of the infection symptoms. While another review reported probiotics reduce the duration of illness in otherwise healthy children and adults.

Endurance athletes undergoing strenuous training are more susceptible to upper respiratory tract infection (URTI), believed to be due to the role of strenuous exercise in suppressing the immune system. In one study the number of days of symptoms of URTI was halved when the athletes took the probiotic, compared to placebo. The severity of the symptoms was also less when consuming probiotics.

Supplementing with probiotics has also been shown to be beneficial in reducing the incidence and severity of allergy symptoms. Changes in the composition of intestinal microflora play a central role in the development of allergic diseases. An Australian review with data covering over 2,000 infants from eight studies, concluded that supplementing with probiotics helps prevent eczema, other allergic diseases and food reactions in infants who might be susceptible, and showed benefits for a range of allergic diseases. They reported that probiotics helps prevent eczema in infants and one study suggested this benefit might last up to four years of age.

In Australia, Cow’s Milk Allergy (CMA) is the most common food allergy in children and is responsible for more than 40% of food-induced anaphylaxis in the childhood population. An increasing amount of evidence suggests the role of probiotics in prevention or treatment of CMA. In one study administration of probiotics to food-allergic children (age <2 years) improved the eczema and studies in infants with eczema who received probiotics showed benefits in decreasing gastrointestinal symptoms. Another study showed the benefits of supplementing with probiotics to reduce the symptoms of pollen allergy. In a study of approximately 200 mothers and their infants, expecting mothers taking probiotic supplements passed on immune benefits through the breast milk to the baby. Half of the mothers received probiotic supplements for four weeks prior to birth of their babies and these babies then receive the probiotics during the first year of life.

 

Monday
Feb092015

21 steps to reduce weight and keep it off for good

If you read my recent blogs and Facebook posts you will see I have been researching dieting and weight loss. In fact one of my last posts was titled “Don’t Diet”, where I discussed why they don’t work. I suggest you have a look at it; http://www.drdingle.com/blog/2015/2/4/dont-diet.html. So what do we do?

Rather than wait until my next book “Unlock your genes for healthy weight control” is out on the shelves in July but I would rather get you started now. This is a review of over one thousand studies to do with weight loss. It is not a diet, but a lifestyle program which is proven to be far more effective.

 

Here are some steps to get you started:

1. Set your realistic goal for weight loss (e.g. 1/2 to 1 kg per week, I will be xx kg on July 1, 2015).

2. Find the positive people in your life to support you (get rid of the negative ones). You will need help.

3. Make a list of all the blessings in your life.

4. Don’t exercise just walk more and be more active. Walk, walk, and walk.

5. Don’t sit down for more than 60 minutes at a time.

6. Stand up for 30 minutes or go for a light stroll after each meal (not a heavy workout).

7. Eat slowly and consciously and breathe between each mouthful.

8. Get a smaller plate. Big portion sizes are a big contributor to the waistline.

9. Don’t count calories count nutrition. Nutrition will activate your genes to increase metabolism and decrease hunger sensations.

10. Substitute cereals and grains (bread, pasta etc.) for high protein plant based foods.

11. Have breakfast and don’t eat late at night.

12. Have a vegetable smoothie with linseed, nuts and plants every day, at least one.

13. Snack between meal on fruit, nuts, vegetables, last night’s leftovers or other healthy snacks.

14. Supplement with high grade nutrients. Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and omega 3 oils.

15. Supplement with super probiotics (see my blog) http://www.drdingle.com/blog/2015/2/5/probiotics-for-weight-loss.html.

16. Eat less meat and more plant based protein.

17. Drink lots of purified ionised and mineralised water. Take out the fluoride and chlorine bat add back the life to the water.

18. Don’t shop when you are hungry.

19. Detox your body and the chemicals in your home. They help you hold the weight on and make you sluggish.

20. Don’t have the junk in your pantry! Have readily available nutritious food instead and remove the will power element!

21. Learn to love and respect yourself.

 

Good luck but you don’t need it.

If you want to learn much more come along to my optimal health day: http://tix.yt/optimalhealth.

 

 

Saturday
Feb072015

Putting the "new" back in the news

I think it was Mark Twain who said something like:

“the only thing you can believe in the paper is the price and the name”.

http://alternativenewsproject.org/index.php?referrer=dingle

I have been a big critic of the news over the past decade. The news as we know it not just one sided, it is outright full of lies. The public have an expectation that research, as well as news coverage, will be reliable and come from trustworthy sources. In the case of health, people depend on these reports for information on health, medicines and medical treatments. However, my own experience and the scientific literature suggest that this is simply not the way it is.

One small but significant example occurred in September of 2009, I spent 30 minutes on the telephone with a journalist for Reader’s Digest explaining what I know about statins and cholesterol. The reporter sounded interested and intrigued, so I sent a couple of chapters of my book via email along with some scientific papers verifying my explanations. In November of the same year, I read an extensive article in Reader’s Digest with not a mention of the controversy, the lack of evidence or any of the topics I had raised. The title describes it all: “The New Wonder Drug: Should We All Be on It?” [1]The drug was described as something almost everyone should be taking. I could not believe it and I could not understand how someone purporting to be an investigative journalist could write such a one-sided article.

The media have, by and large, become the public relations machine behind the biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Whether for reasons of time scarcity, poor research skills or vested interests, the result is the same: they get a free ride.

Most readers probably do not know that many newspapers “report” straight from the pharmaceutical PR machine, reprinting press releases verbatim without any scrutiny or investigation.[2] How many times have you heard of a “miracle drug” yet still more people die from diseases the drug is supposed to treat? Perhaps even worse, you may remember the H1N1 (“swine flu”) pandemic of 2009. Thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people were supposed to die. Pharmaceutical sales went through the roof, as did the shares for the vaccine companies. The media message was: it did not matter where you were… the H1N1 virus was going to get you. Fortunately it was a pharmaceutical company hoax propagated by the unquestioning media. In fact, 2009 proved to be a very mild flu year. Subsequently there have been lots of government investigations around the world as to why H1N1 was played up by “experts” (most with ties to the pharmaceutical companies) and the media. A recent study in Canada found that those vaccinated for the flu in 2009 had an increased rate of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) (pH1N1) illness the following year.[3] That is, if you got the flu injection you were more likely to get the pandemic influenza A (swine flu) the following year. But this study did not seem to make it into the media.

http://alternativenewsproject.org/index.php?referrer=dingle

In June/ July of 2010 I was harassed and chased down the street by the media. What should have been a personal matter, a coronial inquest into the death of my former wife and a matter that ultimately had no negative findings against me became a media circus. It was front page of the Western Australian newspaper and stayed in the media for more than 4 weeks. I had media camping outside my home. At the same time a case involving “Dr Death” over in Queensland when around 4 people were killed, 20 or so seriously maimed and hundreds injured by a medical practitioner got around 5% of the attention I had. Hundreds of Australians and thousands of Americans die every year from the incorrect medication. Why was the focus on me. Why did it get so much attention, ridiculous amounts by anyones estimates, and why was the smear campaign run against me?

It is time we took a different approach. Visit the link below to the Alternative News Project. An initiative of a friend of mine.

Time to change the world one click at a time.

http://alternativenewsproject.org/index.php?referrer=dingle

 


1. Reader's Digest (undated). "Statins: The new wonder drug." Reader's Digest, from http://www.rd.com/living-healthy/statins-the-new-wonder-drugs/article16183.html.

2. Koren, G. (1991). "Bias against negative studies in newspaper reports of medical research." Journal of American Medical Association 266: 1824-1826.

3. Skowronski, D.M., G. De Serres, et al. (2010) Association between the 2008-09 seasonal influenza vaccine and pandemic H1Ni illness during spring-summer 2009: Four observational studies from Canada. PLoS Medicine 7, e1000258 DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000258.

 

Friday
Feb062015

20 Steps to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

Recent studies have shown the lifetime risk of cancer increased from 38.5% for men born in 1930 to 53.5% for men born in 1960. For women it has increased from 36.7 to 47.5% and over half of people who are currently adults under the age of 65 years will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime. Despite the hype cancer survival rates have not significantly improved. If this is of concern to you here are 18 things you can do to significantly reduce your risk of cancer. Don’t be overwhelmed by this list, just do it one or two steps at a time.

I also hear some people saying that these are inconvenient. My answer to this – they are not inconvenient when compared to cancer, being in hospital or dying.

  1. Don’t smoke
  2. Cut down your alcohol to below 1 glass of wine a day
  3. Cut out processed sugar in your diet
  4. Eat more fruit and vegetables
  5. Eat more raw food
  6. Eat less processed food (including breads and cereals)
  7. Eat less meat and dairy
  8. Supplement with high quality mineral, multivitamin antioxidants, omega 3 and powerful probiotics
  9. Reduce your exposure to toxins in you food, water and air particularly in your home
  10. Only use safer skin care, cosmetics and personal care products on your skin
  11. Manage your stress and learn to meditate and breath more deeply
  12. Enjoy life more and become more positive
  13. Find the gratitude in all the things you do each day
  14. Nurture your friends and social contacts
  15. Walk more
  16. Get out and expose your skin to the sun every day
  17. Cut down your medication
  18. Spend more time learning about your health
  19. Get more sleep
  20. Maintain a healthy weight

Thursday
Feb052015

Integrating an Effective Work Life Balance for Health and Productivity

Being successful at business or work should not be mutually exclusive of your health. In fact, for any good business the two should be given the same importance. You may think you don’t have the time to look after your health or the health of your employees but you literally can’t afford not to. What many people don’t realise is that our productivity levels are directly proportional to the state of our health. This is logical and supported by a plethora of scientific research, including research of my own, my colleagues and my students.

For a number of reasons, our state of health effects our ability to think; how we think and learn; how we behave and therefore our productivity. It is obvious that we become unproductive when we have a headache, feel ill or have simply had a poor night’s sleep. When a person is ill they cannot fully participate and as a result there is lost opportunity. One person’s poor health, low productivity or low mood can also dramatically influence those around them thereby dropping office productivity even further. Even more seriously, you have to go home because of poor health. The number of hours and days are taken off sick cost businesses thousands of dollars each year per staff member, many millions of dollars to the economy each year and most of these are due to health problems which are quite preventable.

What is less obvious is the low level poor productivity as a result, not of you feeling ill but because of your poor health. Traditionally people have called it fatigue or brain fog or blame the fact that they are a few years older and it is expected. Studies show that this is not the case – when at peak health your productivity is excellent, but as soon as it begins to deteriorate your productivity goes down. Even something as simple as a bit of fatigue or a headache can have a dramatic effect.

This has important consequences for everyone at work but more so for those over 35 years of age (or has it dropped to 30 now?) who are often starting to feel less well, getting a bit slower, a bit stiff, not able to focus and concentrate as much and maybe have to take a few more days off with poor health, not illness just poor health.

Productivity and health is a balance between our physical, emotional mental and spiritual energy. Another way to break this down is into a simple diagram.

 

Therefore anything that affects any of the components above can have an effect on productivity.

When your health is poor you decrease your:

  • Mental capacity
  • Memory, focus and concentration
  • Stamina and energy    
  • Tolerance levels (emotional and spiritual)
  • Recuperation period     
  • Physical ability and mobility        
  • Communication skills

 

And you risk becoming more:

  • Inflexible
  • Moody
  • Pessimistic

 

The costs of this to business are:

  • Low productivity
  • Accidents
  • More disease
  • Absenteeism
  • Presenteeism
  • Early death

 

Many of these costs are hidden but add up to a large burden on any business. A good example of this is some Gallup research in the US shows that around 55% of people are not engaged in their work and that 19% are actively disengaged at a cost of trillions of dollars to the US economy. The longer people are in the job the greater the degree of disengagement. After 6 months on a job 38% of people are actively engaged but after 3 years it has dropped to 22%.

In addition, when your health is poor, your stress levels increase which has a further negative effect on your health and productivity. If not adequately dealt with, this situation quickly becomes compounded, creating poorer health and productivity and a downward trend. On the other hand, maintaining good health allows you to deal with stress more effectively, leads to fewer illnesses and reduces the length and severity of infections such as a colds and ‘flu’s. You need to take fewer sick days and have increased energy and vitality.

I have never met a person who believes that success is poor health, yet we let our health deteriorate in our pursuit of so called ‘’success’’. Success is good health in every aspect of our lives - physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Being healthy is more than the absence of disease and serious disability.

 

Changing the way we do business

While most organizations want improved productivity, the focus is often only on improving the technology and in most cases only lip service is given to improving health. All too often we invest large sums of money into the technology and equipment or even run special wiz bang technology workshops. It does not matter how fast a computer is if the person is slow or even not there at all. The latest computer is of little value if the person is too ill to work at it or to focus on the work.

A small increase in personal health can mean large increase in personal and professional productivity. My suggestion is to stop wasting your money on high tech productivity solutions until you get the low tech end right. Get the foundations of a good and productive business right first. There is a large and growing amount of scientific evidence to show that improving someone’s health can have a dramatic effect on their productivity and the productivity of the business.

Our productivity is also undermined by outdated ideas on work that have hung around since the beginning of the industrial revolution - such as the idea that longer hours at work equals more productivity. Productivity is not how many hours you’ve put in but what you get out. More hours at a production line is fine, if you’re not worried about accidents, but for any position that requires some creativity or human interaction, less time can often be much more effective. Lack of creativity and poor decisions due to fatigue or poor thinking can be very costly. In Japan they have the expression ‘karoshi’, which means death by over work.

Most business research now shows that around 50% of business people take their laptop with them on holidays and the most common reason was to check their emails each day. While there is nothing wrong with this if the person has the right work life integration but most people don’t. We should not take busyness to the point of exhaustion or work at the expense of health or allow work to cut into our recuperation and recovery time. It may provide a perception of short-term benefit but will create long term problems and costs, particularly as we age.

The cost of burnout is not just lost wages and some inconvenience in the short ter. It can be devastating to any organisation and includes the added factors of:

  • Lost productivity while the employee can’t work
  • Extra wages while training someone else
  • Demoralisation
  • Extra stress on other workers
  • Costs (other than wages) of hiring a new person
  • Ongoing medical costs
  • Insurance premiums
  • Legal matters

 

Beyond the office

Years ago people looked after their health outside office hours. Times have changed and we no longer only work in our office. We work in our homes and many jobs rely on us working in our minds all the time. If employers want to improve productivity, they also need to consider the home environment which includes the family and emotional issues. Not an area traditionally covered by work place health programs but one that is critical. One simple example highlights this issue. Stress at work, leads to poor sleep and fatigue which lead to more family arguments, less sleep, more anxiety, more frequent bouts of illness and as a result, lower productivity at work and higher absenteeism. A lower quality of family life generally leads to lower productivity at work as it becomes a major distraction and lowers a person’s ability to interact and function positively.

Rather than work-life balance realistically we now need to look at work life integration. Come along to my Optimal Health Day this March and learn more about what you need to do to maintain optimal health. Tickets can be purchased here: http://tix.yt/optimalhealth.

I wish you good luck and lots of energy.